Friday, May 2, 2008

Quick Follow-Up to Previous Entry

I'm reading a really cool book right now called "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki. In the Introduction, he writes, "Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise."

So people who view the world differently (like poets who like the breeze and engineers who like the A/C) should make the best pairings when serious decisions need to be made.

If I were planning a four-person day trip to the beach, I'd want to *draft* three others who were generally like me -- didn't really care about the itinerary, didn't care where we ate, didn't care whether sand got in the car, didn't care whether we got lost, etc. Why? Because this is presumably happening on my day off, and I just want to enjoy it.

But if I were starting a company, and was faced with the same challenge (hire three people to help get it started) I would be a complete jackass if I used the same decision-making criteria. Because now, important decisions need to be made. If four really agreeable people are sitting in the room, it might be a lot of fun, but it's never going to work out better in the long run. Without diversity of thought and viewpoint, the bottom line would suffer the business would ultimately fail.

No comments: